Off The Beaten Path: Don’t Mess With Pam “Leroy Brown”
Well the South side of Chicago
Is the baddest part of town
And if you go down there
You better just beware
Of a man named Leroy Brown
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce
Change the town to Slippery Rock and the name to Pam and you pretty much have described me at this point in my life. I gave up all pop (or soda to some of you people – although it mystifies and confuses me as to why anyone would call “pop” soda!) 25 days ago. I went cold turkey, much to my family’s distress.
Giving up pop is a very big deal for me. I have been a pop addict for over 34 years. And yes, I do indeed mean addict. I had an addiction and love of pop that had a very strong hold on me. I would sometimes consume 5 cans of pop a day! I loved that taste and would drink it icy cold – or lukewarm.
I must confess that I still love pop. But I came to the realization that it is just not healthy for me. I have gained a lot of weight and that is a contributing factor. And my joints were really aching and my stomach was messed up. Research showed me that pop was a very large factor in my health problems. I will be 52 years old next month and well… I want to be around for a very long, long time for my family. It was time to change.
It hasn’t been easy. I had caffeine withdrawal headaches for a few days. And I really miss the taste of that “sweet nectar” of pop. I sometimes dream at night about cracking up a can and guzzling it down. During my first week of “kicking the habit” I was a mess. I was cranky. (Shocking, huh?! And I bet my family will tell that I am STILL cranky!) I was four days into my “sobriety” as I like to call it when I visited the local brewery. Now I don’t drink alcohol – but I have been known to consume an entire pitcher of their homemade cream soda in one sitting. Yeah, I know – gluttony, gluttony… I was very proud of myself – I kept to my program and had no pop. I really wasn’t even thinking about downing a glass until my son-in-law commented that he was shocked and amazed that was not imbibing. “I would have thought that you would have been rushing up to the pop dispenser and putting your head under the nozzle and guzzling it down by now.” You know, I never thought about it until he said that and then, son of a gun, I couldn’t get that thought out of my head! I actually made a trip past the drink dispenser section and contemplated whether it was worth a permanent ban at the restaurant to do that very thing. For the record, I behaved myself.
Two days later I was at the grocery store. Now, I hate grocery shopping but kicking the pop/caffeine habit had made me extraordinarily testy. I had maneuvered my way past the hordes of morons who gathered in the center of the aisles to hold reunions. I dodged displays of cookies, chips and mountain high towers of cases of pop. I finally made it to the check out line and was placing my items on the conveyor belt when the man behind me started to infringe on my personal space. He was so close that I could feel him breathing down my neck. I was still unloading my cart and he started to place his items on the belt. I gave him my best “frosty Pam” look as I pushed his products, which included 4 cartons of pop (although it was not my regular brand) back so I could continue to put mine on the belt. He ignored me. I got mad. “Sir,” I said, “I have been without any pop for 6 days. I am bordering on flipping out of you. At this point, I am considering shanking you for that pop and I don’t even like that kind. You might want to back off.”
He laughed. I said, “Oh, I am so not kidding you.” He took a good look at my face and quietly and quickly placed his stuff back in his cart.” I was not in possession of a knife but… I actually had my keys in my hand and was wondering if it was possible to shank him and whether I should use the SUV or house key to do so.
I am happy to report that I am down 12 pounds so far. I feel so much better. But yes, I do miss my pop. Eventually I expect that I will indulge in a treat of a carbonated beverage every now and then. Am I still cranky? Well… that’s up for debate. Just be forewarned – if you see me out and about – don’t try to crowd me in the line and don’t challenge me to nozzle drink from the pop dispenser!